The WSCL Blog

News and information about WSCL's Classical Music Programming

Friday, February 12, 2016

Just Opened, Feb. 12, 2016

Today we have contrasts of traditional music and contemporary works, and some food for thought about inclusion in the arts.

The African American Concert Spiritual
Seraphic Fire
Patrick Dupre Quigley, piano & cond.
SFM 642 7
ISBN# 6 143325 79642 7
When an all white choral group makes the decision to approach traditional African American material, they know it will be mentioned.  (Having only two male african american soloists featured on this Cd make the photo of the all-white choral group more noticable.)  The choice demonstrates a laudible intentionality of purpose in showcasing this music of great historic significance beyond a racial confine.  In the publicity material, Seraphic Fire has stated that this choice demonsrates their belief that this music should have a larger place in the repertoire of concert music.  Unfortunately, the choice does also highlight how segregated music making often remains - even among really fine groups like this.  Conductor James De Priest often made the point that while his outreach work playing the music of African American composers was important, that he conducted all composers from around the world, and did not want to be known for just one segment of his work.  In this day and age of "diversity," there can sometimes be a fine line between celebrating diversity and segregating the arts.  For artists of EVERY race, making choices that call attention to race can be a double edged sword.    Kudos to Seraphic Fire for not letting this disuade them.  Any lover of choral music will know that this CD audibly makes the case for the timeless and universal beauty of these works.

So - something to think about and discuss with friends - why ARE so many choral groups so often racially unmixed?

Vol. 5 Complete String Quartets
Quartetto di Cremona
with Lawrence Dutton, viola
AUDITE 92.684
ISBN# 4 022143 92684 5
Beethoven's only string quintet is featured alongside his "Thanksgiving" quartet in this CD, vol. 5 in the series of Beethoven quartets recorded by Quartetto di Cremona, hailed as "Italy's most exciting string quartet."

-- In light of the comments above about the racial composition of music groups, we should, perhaps refer to this quartet as an "all male" group?

Symphony No. 4 (Tansman Episodes)
London Philharmonic Orch.
Andrey Boreyko, cond.
NONESUCH 549570-2
ISBN# 0 78597 95034 2
With the subject matter often dark, the musical influences modern (Alexander Tansman was known for breaking up musical forms), and the tonalities often non-melodic and bombastic, the music of Gorecki has been known to cause heated debates amongst our listeners, and is certainly not for those seeking musical cotton candy.  His music HAS won the regard of musicologists as a leading Polish composer of the avant garde movement, and a 1992 recording of his Symphony No. 3 sold over one million copies and reached the top of the Classical Music charts.  Certainly by any standard of recognition, when the London Philharmonic Orchestra undertakes the recording of all the Symphonies of one composer, it is a major stamp of approval.  This symphony is being released individually, as part of a 7 disc set. 

Helene Grimaud, piano
Deutsche Grammophone
Deutsche Gram. 479 3424
ISBN#  0289 479 3426 4
This CD of international piano virtuoso Grimaud is very much a collaboration with producer Nitin Sawhney, who composed transitional pieces that combine piano and electronic sound production into what they call an "acoustic stream" and a "musical ecosystem."  One performance saw the concert stage being filled with water as Grimaud played.   While many of the works are challenging (even the choice of Faure's Barcarolle No. 5 is one of the least melody driven of his Barcarolles), steeped into the foundation of this program are well loved works like Liszt's virtuoso showpiece, "The Play of Water at the Villa d'Este" and Debussy's "Sunken Cathedral" (which is often mentioned as a favorite work of many pianists).  For many years, Grimaud has been an established artist who has consciously used her visibility to highlight extra-musical causes.  With water resources and availability regularly in the international news, and now problems with tainted water here in the states, this CD has a world-wide resonance on many levels.

Join us next week for more new releases, Just Opened.
Kara Dahl Russell

Friday, January 29, 2016

Just Opened, January 29, 2016

Old, New and Happy New Year!  Today on Just Opened.

Vienna Philharmonic
Mariss Jansons
SONY 5174802
ISBN# 8 88751 74802 6
Vienna Phil. website
My Delight of the Week! If you feel as I do... a year starts off best by watching/hearing the Vienna Philharmonic New Year Concert.  Each year these concerts are made available, so you can revisit that "fresh New Year" feeling, and the glorious timeless music played by one of the greatest orchestras in the world.  This year's program included the rarely heard "Vienna Maidens Waltz... which features the orchestra whistling the melody against the accompaniment of solo harp... it gives me chills and goosebumps every time I hear it! 

Piano Music of Bolivia
Walter Aparicio, piano
ISBN# 6 81585 15462 5
Pianists are always looking for new repertoire that is melodic and accessible, but also interesting.  These works are just the ticket, performed by an accomplished, multiple award-winning pianist who has made a purpose of cultivating these works from his home country, that could be called Contemporary South American Romanticism.   Folk melodies and infectious driving rhythms in a variety of settings.   A marvelous program in itself, any one of these works could be individually inspirational to pianists, and a great way to add color to a program.

Sonatas from 17th Century Germany
Passamezzo Moderno
ISBN# 8 45121 08226 5
Passamezzo Moderno, founded in 2005, is a period ensemble that performs the music of three centuries, from 1530 to 1830, and specializes in the virtuoso instrumental music of the 17th century.  The blend of strings and bassoon, both an historically accurate and a pleasing grouping, along with their dedication and affection for this obscure repertoire, make it lively and appealing.

The Sixteen
Harry Christophers, cond.
CORO 16133
ISBN# 8 28021 61332 6
Now on Volume 6 of their dedicated CD explorations of the works of Giovanni da Palestrina, Harry Christophers and "The Sixteen" are renowned internationally for their respect for early works, for exquisitely seamless vocals on complex historic materials, and they have developed an avid fan base around the world.

Thank you for listening to new works, Just Opened.
If you enjoy Just Opened, it needs your financial support!   All programs on Delmarva Public Radio are listener supported.  Please take a moment to click the red button at the upper right of the page and make your support tangible!  Thank you!
Kara Dahl Russell

Friday, January 22, 2016

January 22, 2016

Many of our releases today feature women in Music, the Cecilia String Quartet, pianist Klara Min, and composer Stacy Garrop put forth a strong case for serious accomplished women.  Overall, today's program is one leaning more toward the "serious" music listener... with the accomplished soundings of Ensemble Caprice giving us seamless combinations of early and modern works, or the soundtrack to the feature film YOUTH, which combines many styles of music with traditional orchestral works and new works in a minimal vein by David Lang.

Klara Min, piano
ISBN# 0 34062 30045 7
My Delight of the Week!
Before the minimalism of today, we had the predominantly quiet and thoughtful music of Scriabin that was pointing toward the compositional world of today.  But he was pointing to this new musical thought while standing firmly in the basis of the melodic Romantic era, so that, to the modern ear, his works feel profoundly peaceful, with the soothing touch of reassuring melody.  Min has the technique to make Scriabin's sometimes challenging structures smooth as velvet, and the reassuring restraint to let the music unfold as slowly as an Iris blossom.  She has chosen works that fit together beautifully, to immerse us in restful refreshment of a musical oasis.
Voices of Eternity
Ensemble Caprice
Mattias Maute, cond.
ISBN# 7 74204 91322 9
Mattias Maute & Ensemble caprice have been on our air for at least a decade, with literate, studious, dedicated, sparkling, lively interpretations of early and baroque works.  This CD craftily contrasts new works by Maute in the style of his beloved eras with original era works into a
Cecilia String Quartet
ISBN# 7 74204 91322 9
Meant ENTIRELY as a compliment:  in a day when female composers rarely had sufficient training, and their work was dismissed as lacking, Felix Mendelssohn (and Chopin) were able to mine their feminine sides for music with lightness, classicism, depth and variety of emotion, passion and, in Mendelssohn's case, spritely humor.  The accomplished women of this quartet takes all these elements into luminous stride to create a significant recording of Mendelssohn's beloved quartets.

Orchestral Works by Stacy Garrop
CCPA Symphony Orchestra
ISBN# 7 35131 91602 8
If you love the power and punch of Beethoven's works, you'll find that here in these orchestral works composed by Garrop.   These are by no means classical works, blend world music and at quieter times, a pinch of new age minimalism with the force of thunder, and you'll get a sense of Garrop's work.   Works here inspired by mythology and ancient peoples.  Garrop's works are being performed and comissioned all over the world.  Hers is a name to know, and this particular CD is a great way to familiarze yourself with her sound.  IF she had been seeking to prove that women can compose music that doesn't sound like "a girl" wrote it, case stated and won!

YOUTH (soundtrack)
David Lang, composer
London Philharmonic Orchestra
Trio Medaevale, Sumi Jo, BBC Concert Orch.
ISBN # 7 31387 ?7592 8
A wide variety of performers and styles.  The film is about a composer, and how is world is composed of sounds.  New orchestral and chamber works by David Lang represent the works of the composer played by Michael Caine.  Orchestral excerpts by Debussy, Mercadante, and Stravinsky populate the score alongside a wide variety of pop music performers and styles.

A special thanks to all of you who support the classical music programming here on WSCL.  It is profound honor to be able to share this great music with you.   Join me again next week, for more new releases, Just Opened.
Kara Dahl Russell

Thursday, January 7, 2016

Just Opened, January 8, 2015 - 5 in the chamber

Mostly Chamber works today on Just Opened, with an older release tossed in that is new to our library, with a special focus on music inspired by traditional works of the orient, and spanish cultures.

Organ Works Vol. III
Robert Quinney, organ
CORO 16132
ISBN #8 28021 61322 7
Info. on Robert Quinney
English organist, Robert Quinney, studied at King's College, Cambridge, where he was Organ Scholar. On graduating from Cambridge (with BA and M.Phil. degrees) Quinney became Acting Sub-Organist of Westminster Abbey for a year, then moved to Westminster Cathedral as Assistant Master of Music in September 2000.  He won the Royal College of Organists Performer of the Year competition in 2002.  He returned to Westminster Abbey in 2004, has toured and recorded with their choir, and was principal organist for many events.  In April of 2013 he became Director of Music at Peterborough Cathedral.  This is the third in his series of Bach works for the Coro label.  Gramophone wrote, "Alongside his impeccable performances, Quinney’s greatest achievement is to produce music-making which really communicates itself to the listener."  These works, including the Canonic Variations and Pastorella (suite) are performed on The Meltzer organ of Trinity College, Cambridge.

Lorraine Hunt, mezzo
Nicholas McGegan, cond.
Philharmonia Baroque Orchestra
Released in 1994
Bio of Lorraine Hunt 1954-2006
This CD was not in our library, and gave us a nice contrast to the chamber works featured today.  It gave us an equally nice chance to explore the early work of this internationally renowned singer who died young.

Zhang Zhao, piano & arranger
Schott Publications
info. on purchase of sheet music book & cd
My delight of the week!  Of particular interest to those who play the piano, this CD is included with the sheet music book of the works.  I have always been personally enamored of "orientale" music of the romantic era, and arrangements and transcriptions of music from the far east.  Zhang Zhao takes a page from the romantic-era, a focus on traditional folk melody, and creates lush, accessible, mostly low intermediate level piano work arrangments.  There are a series of these "Melodies of China" books, for different instruments, featuring different pieces.  Each has an accompanying CD of performances of the sheet music, here beautifully performed by the arranger himself.  The music is under copyright to the People's Republic of China, and they have a special publication relationship with the German company, Schott Publishing, one of the largest sheet music publishers in Europe.  What is particularly nice about this collection, is that the provinces are identified where the folk melody originated.   It is a good way for piano teachers to add some interesting "flavors" to the repertoire for students, and for performers, too!

Boston Cello Quartet
ISBN# 8 63428 00020 1
Sometimes we receive promotional copies of a CD so quickly, that the information on them can not yet be easily found online.   Such is the case with this CD... as of today, it is not even on their website yet.  So... consider this a tickling of your musical tastebuds, and if you want to purchase the CD, I'm sure they'd be delighted to receive and email through their website about it.  (It IS availble through multiple online resources... try your favorite online CD store.) The works on this CD are sometimes familiar, always accessible.  Works by Chabrier, Corea, Granados, Barroso, Albeniz, and a new highly melodic work by Patrice Sciortino, all easy on the ears, all inspired by the toe tapping rhythms of Spanish and Latin American music.

Aaron Larget-Caplan, guitar
ISBN# 5 060192 780567
This CD features arrangements by Asian composers and works inspired by eastern legends and music by westerners.  The largescale title work for solo guitar was arranged by David Russell.  There is a piece by Leo Brower inspired by composer Toru Takamitsu, and arrangments by Takamitsu of works by Arlen & Gershwin.  There are also a few first recordings of new works.  Aaron Larget-Caplan is a roster artist for the New England Foundation for the Arts' New England States Touring Grant program, and has received rave reviews for his performances across the U.S. and internationally.  This CD presents variations of style and composer on the strong theme of guitar music inspired by the far east.

Music of Michael Eckert
Amanda McCandless, clarinet
Polina Khatsko, piano
Unison Piano Duo
MSR 1549
ISBN# 6 81585 15492 2
Bio and Info on Michael Eckert
New music by a living composer!  No need to hide or cover your ears, this collection by Michael Eckert is all filled with melody and easy to enjoy.  The rich clarinet of McCandless joins effortlessly with the accomplished accompaniment of Khatsko, and nice tonal contrast is provided by the works for piano duo, richly performed by the husband and wife team, Unison Piano Duo.   If you want to try new music, but are afraid that it will be too far from the madding crowd, this CD gives you an engaging variety of new works from a composer you'll want to follow and hear more of.

Join us again next week for more new releases, Just Opened.
Kara Dahl Russell

Friday, January 1, 2016

Just Opened, December 1, 2016

The Composer's Choir
Daniel Shaw, Art. Dir.
CCR #43416
ISBN# 0 61297 43416 9
Available for download on multiple resources online
About the Composer's Choir
Daniel Shaw has served on the faculties of Duquesne University and John Hopkins Center for Talented Youth. As a choral composer, Shaw has been received numerous commissions and his works are performed throughout the United States and Canada.  In addition to being Founder and Artistic Director of the Composer’s Choir, Shaw is Artistic Director of the New Haven Oratorio Choir and serves as Minister of Music at First Church, Woodbridge, CT with many previous prestigious posts. Singers of this Choir are predominantly graduates of the Yale School of Music.  Their performances of new choral works have been hailed for their outstanding singing, tuning and diction.

JOSEPH MOOG (pianist)
Greig & Moszkowski Piano Concertos
Nicholas Milton, cond.
German Radio Orch. S.K.
ONYX 4144
ISBN# 8 80040 41442 1
Moog received the Classical Grammy Young Artist of the Year last year, and this CD has been nominated for Best Classical Instrumental Solo this year.   The son of professional musicians, Moog has been playing the piano since the age of 4.  At the age of 28, and looking much younger, Moog has performed with major orchestras and conductors around the world, received numberous awards, and this is all read his 9th major release. Unadulterated romanticism is the order of this CD, with Grieg's well known Concerto (recorded live), paired with the luscious Concerto in E of Moritz Moskowski.  Piano Concertos fall in and out of favor, and what a joy to be reintroduced to the Moskowski Concerto that has all the lyricism, melody and pyrotechnics of the great film scores.  International critics are praising his performance of the Grieg, and thanking him for bringing the lovely Moszkowski back to the spotlight in such a shining performance.

Nina Stern, recorders & chalumeau
Glen Velez, frame drums & percussion
MSR 1577
ISBN# 6 81585 15772 5
for more information and purchase
“[ * * * * * ] a cosmopolitan range of sophisticated composers... The repertoire ranges from the 12th through 18th centuries, and winds up with an exquisitely unique solution to “Greensleeves.” The pleasures are not only gentle and real, they sometimes connect with deep inner feelings... The combination of Nina Stern playing variously six different recorders, and a diverting chalumeau, and Glen Velez playing a shruti box, an Eckermann Turkish drum, a Bruno Spana tamburello, a 20” Cooperman bodhran and a Contemporanea Surdo Frame Drum, for starters, is curiously intimate. The sound, recorded at Mozart Studios in Clifton, New Jersey, is exquisite.” -- Laurence Vittes, Audiophile Audition [December 2015]
Stern is recognized as a clarinetist and recorder player, and has appeared with the premier "original instrument" orchestras of the world.  She was appointed to the faculty of Juilliard’s Historical Performance program in 2012, and has served on the faculties of the Mannes College of Music where from 1989 to 1996 she directed the Historical Performance Program, the Civica Scuola di Musica in Milan, Oberlin Conservatory (Visiting Professor), and the Five Colleges in Massachusetts. A notable music educator, Nina Stern is an innovative teacher of school-age children, and a founder of S’Cool Sounds, a hands-on music education project in inner city public schools. For this important work, Stern was awarded an Endicott Fellowship in 2003 and Early Music America’s Early Music Brings History Alive award in 2005. This CD presents a grouping of her personal favorites, mostly early music, in arrangements that are vital and fresh.

IVAN ILIC (piano)
plays Morton Feldman
PARATY 135305
ISBN# 3 760213 650337
Ivan Ilic's Official Website 
This CD whas been nominated for 2016 International Classical Music Awards (ICMA), Solo Instrument Category
This CD consists of one extended work (in 22 movements) from 1985 titled "For Bunita Marcus."   To say that this work is rarely performed in it's entirety would be an understatement. And while the work has (surprisingly) been recorded several times, it remains a rarity.  Especially rare is that a pianist of the caliber of Ilic will have such an extended and multi-faceted relationship with the work.  Feldman's work is an acquired taste, and Ilic has acquired it, cultivated it, studied it, published articles and books about it, steeped in it, and allowed it to seep through him.  These works that leave most critics and listeners cold become something different in his hands, redolent of gregorian chant, meditative cloisters, with glistening particles of Scriabin-like melody momentarily reflected.  So it is no surprise that the critical acclaim for Ilic's interpretation praises his ability to instill warmth into the repetitions and silences of these hypnotic works. 
In discussing this CD (and Ilic's work with Feldman's music) with my co-worker, Chris Ranck, he hit on "le mot juste":  Ivan Ilic is doing a marvelous job of curating Feldman's work. "These are less narratives than situations ("territories") that Feldman's music grows and causes, arousing in the viewer / listener, a new field of consciousness, a new listening protocol. Spaciousness becomes essential here: it frees music and listener for endless explorations." -- Adrien De Vries,   This would definitely be a trial for many of our more conservative listeners, but if you are a fan of repetitive, meditative works, ancient chant, new age minimalism, and/or modern repetitions... you may find that this extended work speaks to you in illuminating ways.

BRAHMS String Quartets Op. 51
New Orford String Quartet
ISBN# 0 90404 94642 4
Formed in 2009 (after their famous predecessors disbanded), this New group of musicians have fully picked up the mantle of their predicessors, and continued the tradition of excellence and critical rave reviews.  After the breathtaking success of their recordings of Schubert and Beethoven, they now present us with two of Brahm's masterpieces.  "...I will dispense with the details of performance quality by describing the New Orford's playing succinctly as having perfection of intonation, superb tone quality, and unsurpassed clarity of musical line, while offering ensemble playing of the finest character..." - - Burton Rothleder, Fanfare

Alan Rinehart, guitar
NovaScribe 202
ISBN# 7 78224 12042 1
Since 1983 Rinehart has been on the music faculty of the University of British Columbia & Vancouver University.  He studied lute technique and performance practice extensively, classical guitar, and has many published editions of works (including several on this CD).  Since his critically acclaimed London debut in 1980 he has been a recognized contributor to the world of concert guitar as a performer, teacher and editor.  He has rave reviews from The Times of London, Fanfare, and more impressively, from industry specific publications, Classical Guitar Magazine and Guitar International Magazine.  The newer works are inspired by and reference more classical works, making the entire CD easy on the ears.  Incidentally, this is something that reviewers have mentioned, Rinehart's skill with putting together an appealing program.  The majority of works on this CD are either traditional works, from early music to works by Albeniz, Pujol and Duarte, ending with infectious upbeat works by Machado and Ross. 

Join us next week for more new releases, Just Opened!
Kara Dahl Russell

Friday, December 18, 2015

Just Opened, December 18, 2015 - Christmas Music!

A wide variety of Christmas music and new releases today.  For your holiday gift lists and listening for years to come!

Lyrical Strings Duo
Lucie Zalesakova, violin
Stephen Osserman, guitar
ISBN#8 89211 67389 6
My Delight of the Week!  I have such a crush on this CD that I have all ready given it as a present.   Interpretations of mostly piano works, re-imagined for guitar and violin, mostly by Eastern European composers, including little known works like Martinu's "Puppets" and some showstoppers like Wieniawski's "Legend."  There is a uniformity of sound to these works - due to regional origin and perhaps national musical temperments - that many will find especially appealing as background music, the majority of these works are on the soothing, dark chocolate side.  But, of course, the exceptional blend of these two, and their arrangements and interpretation make each work (or set of works) worth repeated and intentional listening, and their interpretations may very well inform the interpretation of future soloists.

Couch End Festival Chorus
City of Prague Philharmonic Orch.
ISBN#7 38572 60492 9
Gift Giver's Delight!  If you enjoy great choral music in traditional arrangements for the season, this set is sure to please.  The Crouch End Festival Chorus is one of Britain's Formost Symphonic Choirs, based in north London.  This set of traditional works is large symphonic settings with magnificent choir is bound to be on your playlist for years to come.  [This CD is all ready temporarily sold out on some major online outlets, but do a websearch, and it is still available through many.]

Complete Ballet arr. for Solo Piano
Stewart Goodyear, piano (and arranger)
ISBN#0 34062 30040 2
Sound check article/review
Stewart Goodyear says that he has been listening to Tchaikovsky's The Nutcracker since his childhood.  His love of the music, and his love and expertise as a pianist, drove him to create his own arrangement of it for solo piano.  He felt that many of the existing arrangements were missing something, and he went back to the score to create a solo piano version that captured the complexity and nuance of the orchestration.  It is said that any great pianist (or soloist) seeks to create an orchestral sound from his/her single instrument, and here we have an internationally renowned soloist in a labor of love to create arrangements that bring that concept of an orchestral piano to fruition.  As with many piano "reductions" of beloved orchestral works, not every section of the work fares as well in this transition, and for some, the absence of the orchestra will simply be a bridge too far.  What is striking in Goodyear's arrangement and performance is a gleeful recognition that this is as much an intellectual exercise and feat of musicianship for Goodyear, and what a joy that so much of it works in a way that is fully satisfying.

Sacred Choral Music of
Michael John Trotta (comp./cond.)
New York Repertory Singers
ISBN#6   37230 77769 5
New Choral Works for the New Year by Trotta, whom Fanfare has called "one of the most exciting and prominent composers of choral music" and Choir & Organ praises his "elegant, singable music with strong spirtual heft."

Terry Barber, counter tenor
featuring Denyce Graves, soprano
2TOURS special release
ISBN#8 88295 35432 5
Available online (including through his website), Counter-tenor Terry Barber has taken selections from two tours, "Christmas Presence" and "Around the World in 80 Minutes" to provide a surprisingly cohesive program of new and traditional Christmas songs, and traditional, well known songs from around the world - all in beautiful arrangments.

Owen Rees, cond.
Choir of the Queen's College, Oxford
AVIE 2345
ISBN#8 22252 23452 7
Rees is organist (Director of Music), a Fellow in Music, and Director of the Music Department at Queen's College.  He has recorded on several labels, and performed internationally.  Queens Choir at Oxford is one of the foremost University Choirs in Britain (and given Britain's choral preeminence internationally, consequently also one of the foremost in the world).  The have toured the world to great acclaim, and have a strenuous weekly performance schedule in services alongside their academic schedule. If you like the more intimate sound of a smaller, excellent church choir (as opposed to a symphonic choir), this will be just your cup of tea!

I hope you've found your own personal musical delight here or in the previous weeks as we've opened up new Holiday releases.   We'll be back in January with more new releases, next week we have many holiday specials.   Have a lovely Christmas and New Year!
Kara Dahl Russell

Friday, December 11, 2015

Just Opened, December 11, 2015 - Hanukkah & Christmas

We're now well into Hanukkah this year, but have an interesting new release called "Shiksa" from internationally renowned violinist Lara St. John - so how could we resist?  The Complete Beethoven Symphonyies, the Bach Cello Suites played by an American-Israeli Cultural Scholarship winner, and a new Christmas release from Pladico Domingo complete today's offerings!

Lara St. John, violin
Matt Herskowitz, piano
ISBN# 8 54853 00404 9
With her typical mix of musical research, intense musicality, fun, and inspiration, St. John joins with MattHerskowitz for a CD of "gypsy" inspired music.  From traditional folk music to Romany works, to Judaica (hence the tongue-in-cheek title) to works inspired by both, and some new arrangement/transcriptions by Herskowitz, this CD is filled to the rafters with passionate show-stoppers for violin and piano!

Placido Domingo
Czech National Symphony Orchestra
Eugene Kohn, conductor
SONY# 117 432
ISBN#8 8875 11743 2 0
Official website of Placido Domingo
This major release by one of the living legends (and heart-throbs) of our day could well be called Placido's cross-over Christmas.  Most of the selections are "the usual suspects" of traditional Christmas carols, and he is joined on various tracks by his son, Idina Menzel, Jackie Evancho, Hayley Westenra, Vincent Niclo and Helen Fischer. With someone like Domingo at the helm, one cast rest assured of exceptional arrangments and great orchestrations.

Kent Nagano, cond.
Montreal Symphony Orchestra
ANALEKTA 9150-9155
ISBN# 7 74204 91502 5
Official Website of Nagano
Gift-Giver's Delight!  This 6 CD set is a compilation of recordings made from 2012-2014, Nagano's committment to recording the complete Symphonies of Beethoven, and several other orchestra works (Overtures, etc.) to flesh out the collection and concept.  One critic took great exception to the varied recording location and releases being put together, he felt that the sound(s) of the various locations were so different that it was a detraction for him.   I would think this is not something the average listener is going to find too distracting.   As I frequently mention, the great canons are rarely being recorded anymore, so this is an opportunity to create a foundation of a new or growing classical music collection, with one of the most respected international composers of our day, and an orchestra that is having a hey-day under his baton.

Inbal Segev, cello
Official website of Segev
With so many artists recording this seminal set by Bach, an attachment to the artist, and the artist's interpretation is what sets each recording apart.  Segev is the winner of many international accolades, including the American-Israel Cultural Foundation Scholarship.  "Ultimately, the challenge for me was to find a way to incorporate the ideas I learned from Baroque practice while being true to my musical language, which is rooted in this century. I wanted to create an interpretation of this great masterwork for the contemporary listener – to say, ‘Here is what Bach has to say to people in the 21st century.’ In this recording I strive for simplicity while trying to keep a sense of freedom. Da-Hong and I worked at capturing a pure and warm sound. It is a distillation of everything I love about the suites.”  Her journey with this music has also been captured in a documentary, a 21 minute film which you can find on youtube:
documentary about the making of this CD

Join us again for more new releases and great musical gifting ideas, Just Opened!
Kara Dahl Russell


The views expressed in the posts and comments of this blog do not necessarily reflect the views and opinions of Public Radio Delmarva, its staff, members, underwriters, Salisbury University, or the Salisbury University Foundation. They should be understood as the personal opinions of the author. No information on this blog will be understood as official.